Duluth firefighters rescue kitten in storm drain

Crews needed to use to creativity to coax the little guy out to safety.

Duluth firefighter Jeremy Helm holds a kitten who was rescued from a storm drain Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Duluth Fire Department)

We're all familiar with the trope of firefighters rescuing cats from trees. But how about a kitten in a storm drain?

That was the case in Duluth on Wednesday, as crews were summoned to rescue a tiny feline trapped below a street. Firefighters from the Duluth Heights station were summoned to the scene after three young girls, out on a walk with their father, heard cries from the drain, the Duluth Fire Department reported.

Crews removed the grate and sent firefighter Jeremy Helm down inside, but the scared kitten refused to come to him. Firefighters then deployed a thermal imaging camera to see that the kitten was hiding inside a small pipe. But it still wouldn't budge, so fellow firefighter Andy Beck went down to the next grate and opened an air tank that firefighters use for breathing.

"By opening the air tank, our intent was to use the loud air escaping from the bottle to scare the kitten back towards the drain opening," the fire department reported. "The plan worked! The noise made the little guy run right into firefighter Helm's arms!"

A neighbor arrived with a small cage and said she would take the kitten to the vet for shots and a checkup before trying to find a suitable home, the fire department reported.

Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or
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